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John Lynch must own up to mistake, release Reuben Foster

49ers linebacker Reuben Foster
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

When San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch traded back up into the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft to select Reuben Foster 31st overall, he knew he was taking a risk. Now, less than one year later, it’s clear that gamble was ill advised.

Foster was arrested on marijuana charges early in the offseason, and then a more serious arrest followed, involving what we now know involves harrowing accusations of incredible violence toward a woman.

On Thursday, the Santa Clara District Attorney released startling allegations in this case.

“Foster, 24, physically attacked the 28-year-old woman during a February argument at their Los Gatos home, leaving her bruised and with a ruptured ear drum.”

Foster is also accused of punching his live-in girlfriend between eight and 10 times during this attack.

This was a young man who had serious red flags, both due to health and off-field concerns, and some teams had taken him off their draft board as a result. Yet Lynch and the 49ers did what NFL teams have so often done when faced with the chance to bring in an elite talent. They believed (or at least did their best to convince themselves) that Foster would turn things around and become a model citizen.

Now, everyone’s entitled to a second chance. Furthermore, Lynch didn’t exactly make a critical error in bringing in a top-five talent at the end of the first round. That’s not the big issue here. The big issue here is what needs to happen going forward. Lynch and the 49ers owe it to themselves and their fans to admit defeat and cut ties with a young man who is now facing up to 11 years in prison if convicted of his crimes.

49ers owner Jed York already made it clear that Foster is on thin ice recently, noting the 49ers might be forced to move on.

The NFL has made a big deal out of saying it has no tolerance for women abusers. Sure, due process needs to play out before any legal punishment is doled out. But NFL fans have already made it clear where they stand on this issue, and Foster seems to have crossed the line here in a big way.

San Francisco has already dealt with one first-round bust who couldn’t stay out of trouble off the field, Aldon Smith, in recent years.

It’s time to send a legitimate message that, regardless of talent, this kind of crap will not be tolerated.

The 49ers wasted absolutely no time at all last year releasing cornerback in Tramaine Brock after he was charged for domestic violence. Now it’s time to take that same decisive action to release Reuben Foster, whose biggest achievement at this point in his career is to make Lynch and the 49ers look like fools.